A List of the Best Free P2P File Sharing Software Programs

What happened to your favorite P2P file sharing program?

Millions of people used to use free peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) networks and software client programs every day to swap music, video, and other files over the internet. While some P2P networks were shut down and other forms of file swapping took their place, some favorite P2P programs still exist in one form or another. 

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BitTorrent. bittorrent.com

The original BitTorrent client first appeared on the scene in 2001. It quickly attracted a loyal following among those interested in sharing movies and television programs in the form of torrent files. It is one of the few free P2P software applications from that era still in widespread use. Various other alternative clients used with the BitTorrent network such as Azureus, BitComet and BitTornado also existed but are less popular than they once were.

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Ares Galaxy
Ares Galaxy. aresgalaxy.sourceforge.net

Ares Galaxy was developed in 2002, first supporting the Gnutella network and later the separate Ares P2P network. Ares Galaxy was designed to offer decentralized music and other file-swapping support with built-in chat. A spinoff client for the Ares network called Warez was also developed. 

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Emule. emule.com

The eMule project started with the goal of building an improved free eDonkey client. It achieved a large user base, connecting to the eDonkey P2P file sharing network and a few others, although it lost much of its user base as other P2P networks were shut down. Today, eMule supports the BitTorrent network.

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Shareaza. shareaza.sourceforce.net

The Shareaza client search engine connects to multiple P2P networks including BitTorrent and Gnutella. It received a version update in 2017, but much of this client's packaging looks like something straight out of 2002. 

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All the Rest (No Longer Available)

The BearShare P2P file sharing program was a client for the Gnutella P2P network.

EDonkey/Overnet was a P2P file sharing network especially popular in Europe. The eDonkey P2P client connected to both the eDonkey and Overnet networks, which combined to support a large base of users and files. A separate Overnet client existed at one time some years ago, but it was merged into eDonkey, which ran on Windows, Linux, and Mac computers.

The Kazaa software family (including the Kazaa Lite series of applications) for the FastTrack P2P network was the most popular line of P2P file sharing programs for a time in the early 2000s.

The Limewire P2P file sharing program connected to Gnutella and ran on Windows, Linux, and Mac computers. Limewire was recognized for its simple user interface along with good search and download performance.

Morpheus P2P clients were capable of searching Gnutella2, FastTrack, eDonkey2K, and Overnet P2P networks.

WinMX ran only on the Windows family of operating systems, but this client and its associated WPNP network were hugely popular during the mid-2000s. WinMX was known for its relatively advanced (at the time) options to help power users better manage their downloads.